Round 9 NRL Ladder predictions: Dragons partially forgiven, Roosters injuries slide, Raiders in a hole, Many on the rise.

(NRL ladder position in brackets)

1. Melbourne Storm. (3rd) Holding. Just awesome in destroying Souths who were missing some key players. Never looked like losing and continue their defence of their premiership in great style.

2. Penrith Panthers. (1st) Up 1 spot. Finally had a comprehensive win, albeit against a side in a world of trouble. Continue their perfect record and it’s difficult to see where their first loss will be.

3. Parramatta Eels. (2nd) Up 1 spot. The round 5 home loss to the Dragons is still the only blemish on their record and did well to beat a side who never give up. Will be missing some players in the coming weeks due to poor displine.

4. Sydney Roosters. (5th) Down 2 spots. Injuries finally caught up with them, although they were always in it. When back to full strength, or close to it, they will be very hard to beat.

5. South Sydney Rabbitohs. (4th) Holding. Comprehensively flogged. Had nothing in attack, showing how important Reynolds is to the team and equally confusing why they want to let him go. Mitchell still missing has not helped their cause.

6. Gold Coast Titans. (7th) Holding. Did enough to win against a spirited opposition. My tipping record in games involving this club is horrible.

7. Manly Sea Eagles. (9th) Up 2 spots. Have truly turned their season around and Turbo Tom is playing freakishly.

8. Newcastle Knights. (10th) Down 1 spot only due to Manly’s great form. Great comeback insipid by Ponga and should string a few in a row now.

9. New Zealand Warriors. (8th) Down 1 spot. So inconsistent but to be fair, the opposition – well their fullback at least, was on fire. Saab continues to be brilliant and horrible at the same time.

10. St.George Illawarra Dragons. (6th) Up 6 spots. A much better performance, but the opposition are very ordinary and the Dragons mistake rate is still high. A few on debut along with some inexperienced backs but got the job done. A top 5 team would have won by 50, especially given a Dogs Sin Binning, where the Dragons scored 3 tries.

11. North Qld Cowboys. (11th) Down 1 spot. Not the first time they’ve pulled off a 1 point thriller against the Broncos. Val Holmes really starting to prove his worth and I still remain confused as to why he started the season on the wing.

12. Cronulla Sharks. (13th) Holding. Woeful, terrible, a night to forget. Perhaps already looking to next season which is strange given so many off contract. Last year’s top 8 spot is a distant memory.

13. Canberra Raiders. (12th) Down 2 spots. They a really in a massive hole. Papalii stood up but he was the only one. It’s hard for any club to drop players in the current NRL climate but they need to do something radical, fast.

14. Wests Tigers. (15th) Holding. Couldn’t back up their great win last week. Probably scored enough points but unfortunately the opposition scored more.

15. Brisbane Broncos. (14th) Holding. Looking a lot better but when it mattered, they lost. Playing better and still losing won’t make you happy come seasons end.

16. Canterbury Bulldogs. (16th) Down 3 spots. Showed nothing in attack, their only points coming from a strip and an intercept. Back to the bottom 3 for them.